Entertainment

wilford-brimley

Anthony Wilford Brimley, usually referred only as Wilford Brimley, is an American actor with an interesting career path. He served as a US Marine, was a farmer, worked on a ranch, even became a blacksmith, and finally ended up as an actor. He is one versatile actor and has appeared in movies, TV shows, and even commercials.

Brimley was born on September 27, 1934 in Salt Lake City, Utah. When he was in high school, Brimley dropped out to sign up for the US Marines, where he served for three years. He later worked as a bodyguard for Howard Hughes. For some time, he even worked as a ranch hand, and a wrangler. When he gained weight, he became a blacksmith as well. At one point, he was shoeing the horses that were used for shooting movies and TV shows. Unbeknownst to him, the acting world was calling to him, and it came in the form of his friend, Robert Duvall. Duvall suggested that he try his hand at acting, and on his urging, Brimley started from the bottom as one of the extras. He also took stuntman gigs as well in the 1960s. However, his big break was yet to come.

The Waltons was a hit show in the 1970s, and Brimley was cast in the role of Horace Brimley. From 1974 to 1977, Brimley made seven appearances in the role. Although this wasn’t a big role, it brought the gruff-mannered actor the attention that he needed. Within 2 years, Brimley got his first credited appearance in a movie, The China Syndrome (1979). But, it was his brief role as the brusque and stubborn Assistant Attorney, James A. Wells in Absence of Malice (1981) that gave his onscreen characters a lasting persona. He built on this persona to secure similar roles in movies such as The Natural (1984), and Cocoon (1985).

Brimley and Duvall were close friends by now and he was pivotal in securing Brimley in Tender Mercies (1983) for the role of Harry. His down-home image firmly put him as the spokesman for Quaker Oats for several years. After having diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, Brimley appeared in a number of relevant ads as well.

Brimley appeared in a number of TV shows throughout his acting career, most notably in Our House. In 1993, he played the role of William Devasher, the security head, in the Tom Cruise film, The Firm. After In & Out (1997), he had an on and off relationship with Hollywood, which he traded to follow his other pursuits in the independent film industry. His work from this period include Crossfire Trail (2001), and Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009), among others. If you have a high speed internet connection, you can watch Brimley's filmography online.

Brimley has been married twice. He was married to his first wife, Lynne Bagley, in 1956 and they had four sons together. They were together until her death in 2000. Brimley remarried Beverly Berry in 2007. Brimley has a keen interest in poker and has played in the World Series of Poker. His lifelong work on spreading awareness regarding diabetes has won him an award from American Diabetes Association (ADA).

anneboleynAlthough the third and fourth seasons of The Tudors did respectfully in the ratings—and reviews—many viewers were quoted as saying that there was just a certain something missing from the final two seasons. And that certain something was Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn. Dormer’s performance is arguably the most applauded of the entire series. At times fiery and passionate, demure and kind, antagonistic and pleading—she managed to capture many facets of the mysterious and enigmatic Anne Boleyn that are often left by the wayside in popular portrayals. In other words: Natalie Dormer really rocked as Anne Boleyn. And here are some excellent reasons why:

She fought for Anne’s right to be brunette:

Although The Tudors is not bastion of accuracy, there were certain lines that Natalie Dormer—an avid historian enthusiast who researched Anne Boleyn—did not want to cross. The first contested line occurred before filming had even begun. Dormer, a natural blonde, had dyed her hair a dark brown for the role; this was not surprising, considering that Anne Boleyn was known for her dark hair. Dormer, however, was pulled aside and told that the producers were furious with her—because they had wanted to portray Anne Boleyn as a blonde. Dormer pleaded with the show’s writers and producers to allow Anne to retain her natural hair color—and she got her way.

She understood Anne’s complexity: 

Another incident of Dormer championing for a better portrayal of Anne Boleyn occurred during the planning stages of the show’s second season. Dormer was growing frustrated with the one-note direction that her character was heading in—in short terms, a temptress for the king and nothing more. Season 1 Anne is more or less the stereotypical seductress that her enemies painted her to be—“The Other Woman.” Dormer, who in a recent interview admitted that she often struggled portraying Anne as the scripts intended, pleaded with the head writer of the show to remember that Anne Boleyn was a complicated figure and give her more to do than be a plaything for Henry VIII. The show’s second season featured a much more complex, emotional, human Anne Boleyn that no one but Dormer could do justice.

arresteddevelopmentSince Netflix saved this show and gave us another 15 glorious episodes, the sting of Arrested Development’s initial cancellation has lessened.  But this in turn showcases what an idiotic move it was for the Fox network to cancel this fine series in the first place.  I understand that it’s all about ratings and if a show doesn’t get them high enough it’s gone but come on!  If you have a zeitgeist type of show, and Arrested Development was one, plus it’s nominated for a slew of Emmy’s over the course of its run, how as a network do you fail to promote it and make it work?

Fox failed to capitalize on what it had.  I remember seeing an interview with Jason Bateman, who played Michael Bluth, head of a family of misfits, where he talked about the series’ cancellation and how most shows try to make it to 100+ episodes, in order to get into the coveted syndication territory.

Arrested Development, with only 53 episodes, didn’t make it to that level, not even close.  But Bateman spoke on how it wasn’t built that way to begin with.  It wasn’t meant to have five full seasons, just two and a half.  The show was what it was on purpose; a quirky, silly, trippy sitcom that defied categorization and labeling.

The fans were/are rabid, but the show doesn’t appeal to everyone.  With nine main cast members, and constant reshuffling of its time slot on Fox, it’s no wonder it was difficult for most people to follow.  It was kind of all over the place but there in lies its appeal for those of us in the know.  There were certain things about the characters you could come to rely on, like Will Arnett’s Gob screwing up anything he got involved with in spectacular fashion, or Bateman’s Michael sacrificing something personal to save everyone else, but the story itself was surprising at every turn.

There was an overarching plotline to the show.  It was Michael keeping his family together while still developing a relationship with his son.  But some times it’s hard to follow with so many subplots going on.  Buster fighting with Lucille (Lucille One, his real mother and Lucille Two, played by Liza Minnelli of all people) over his lifestyles as a mommy’s boy, Gob and his goofy illusions and battles with the Magician’s Guild, Tobias and Lindsay’s fake marriage and the pathetic attempts at keeping it going, George Michael (Bateman’s son on the show played by Michael Cera) having feelings for his cousin Maeby (played by Alia Shawkat)… on and on.

There was a lot going on with this show but this subtle complexity is what made it so great and what Fox failed to understand.